Monthly Archives: August 2008

Reducing size of SQL Server 2000: why I am not a DBA?!

OK, so I’ve been stupid and, as a result, my SQL Server 2000 DB takes up over 20GB both on the logs and the content.  Ridiculous.  I even know why.

So first thing is first – I got rid of all the logs.

Now I need to figure out how to reduce the bloated tables themselves…

More to come soon…


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I hate MSFT Outlook

MSFT Outlook is a piece of crap.  I hate it.  It can bite me.  It can bite me hard.  it freezes on me on a regular basis, when I do send/receive often not only does Outlook stop responding as if it is single-threaded, but the entire computer starts responding with                      adelayreallyreallyfastafterItypedsomethingin.  I mean, come on!  I like MSFT.  It’s a good company that has some stellar products, but this shit is ridiculous.

And yet, I can’t switch out, because nothing else does task management integrated with emails, which is something I really need (no, GMail hacks are not convenient – that’s why they are called hacks).  If someone has some ideas on what I can use, would much appreciate.

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Managing information

Another application for a blog as a journal is as a scrapbook.  For example, I posted a response on Digg:

Yay!  It’s ok for women to have excisions in Somalia and to have the boot driven into their vaginas in the Congo!  It’s ok that there are honor killings in Iran and that Hezbollah is screwing up Lebanon, It’s ok that there is no freedom of speech or thought in the 21st century in some countries and that civilians are being used and oppressed rather than represented – it’s all ok JUST SO LONG AS I GET TO SAVE THE WORLD BY GETTING A HYBRID AND ACCUSE MY GOVERNMENT OF PROFITEERING!!!

Ugh…  I am sorry, but please stop painting McCain black and Obama white (all puns intended).  We are living in a complex world, but your refusal to see anything beyond the edge of your nicely trimmed lawn is nauseating.  I too am against the draft, but I don’t hop on every opportunity to further my political point.  Both McCain and Obama are intelligent people.  Stop this political crap of bullshit that Digg has turned into.

As a response to this BS.  So what’s happening on the web is that there are two types of people:

  1. People who know what’s going on, but don’t have a lot of time
  2. People who are clueless, but have all the time in the world.

I have some ideas on how this balance could be rectified systematically by creating a way to measure quality of content rather than volume, but another way may be to empower those very few who know something and care…  a scrapbook may be just such a tool – one that allows reuse of content in online discussions.

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Sponsorship: Enhance-Tech and Seagate

So my company is being sponsored (through hardware) by Enhance-Tech and Seagate.  Big thank you to both.  We are also waiting on a sponsorship from a RAID card manufacturer, but decided to start putting together the file box anyway.

So we got an E10 – PM box.  So far, noted the following:

  • The hardware came in two cardboard boxes.  Extra padding or… ?
  • Despite no manual coming with the box, the setup was very easy.  Good construction.

So far, very excited.  Can’t wait to get the RAID card to give this thing a try.

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How do we work/browse?

What are the tid-bits that we publish?

  • Things that we find interesting
    • Don’t need to tag ourselves.  Collective tagging works just fine
  • Our thoughts where we need help
    • Should allow for collaboration beyond “comments”
  • Our notes that we want to retain
    • Need better way to catalogue

What’s the value from reading other people’s work:

  • Being updated – low value
  • If we are close, let’s hang out – location: focused micro-blogging  Why?
    • Professional proximity
    • Friends / Dating
  • Learn new things relevant to my line of work – helps my business
  • Help friends – feelgood, credibility.

Conclusion: a blog should evolve into a stream that allows multiple points of standardized access.  There should be RSS feeds for different thoughts and it is important not to just have proper tools to create content, but also to consume it.

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Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games – Times Online

Very cool.

Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games – Times Online

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Universal Truth – Imposition

I had an interesting discussion today with Ajay, a friend of Darya’s.  He suggested, more playing the devil’s advocate it seems than anything else, that what I see as truth is my truth: a view of convenience.  Intuitively, of course, I feel it is BS – if someone doesn’t agree with my view that honor killings are wrong, they are either stuck in a different time or are idiots.  Yet, intuition is knee-jerk and ugly and is not always productive.

So how can I deal with this suggestion?  Well, 2 thoughts come to mind:

First Reasoning – Universal Truth

in all religious, the intelligentsia, the evolved elite arrive at the same natural conclusions – the core human values, which amount to respect of individual rights.  Yet this might not be sufficient.

Second Reasoning – Descartes.

When Descartes was trying to prove our existence, he asked the question that was something like “What if everything we feel is a lie?  What if our brains are in some jars and some evil genius is feeding us signals?  How do we know we exist?”  Then he had to cast away all information leaving only the core.  And the core is that we doubt our own existence.  With everything else under question, there is still something that remains.  And this lead to the famous “I doubt – therefore I exist”, which is “I think, therefore I am”.

In which case I propose the second reasoning.  If we assume that all schools of thought are fallible without exception, then I think the following fundamental values should apply because they assume that every statement can be wrong:

  1. nobody has the right to impose upon anybody else
  2. in event of imposition, a judgement and imposition can be made by someone trusted by the majority of society that accepted clause 1.

What does it mean?  Ultimately, we all strive towards a society where every member is in a bubble that nobody else can get into unless they are invited.  However, the world is far from perfect, so 1 will most certainly not always be the case.  Then, when there is imposition, it is dealt with through structures accepted by those who accept the fundamental premise that we imposition should be minimal.

So, as an example, let’s take excision in some Islamic cultures.  This is something that clearly imposes upon girls.  Since it is an imposition, the judgement should be made by structures who are endowed with a right to solve this problem by societies that have accepted 1 – so the Western society can make this call.

Same would go for, say, spanking a child.  So imposition is ok so long as members of the society who respect human rights accept the imposition as necessary.

Of course, this still doesn’t answer the question of why clause 1 is something that should be held to be universally true when it actually goes against so many schools of thought.  My answer to this is that every school of thought seeks balance and peace and ability to live lives that do not intersect at all is ultimate balance and peace.  Thus, this is actually a common purpose despite not being explicit.

Although all this is a moot point.  I think that what makes us human is the desire to be happy.  Whether it is submitting as part of Islam, Christianity, or pursuit of business enterprise.  And if we assume this fundamental desire to be universally, clause 1 is the ultimate individual implementation.  Philosophically there are many problems with this, yet, philosophy seems completely irrelevant given the injustices some people on this earth experience at the present time…

What is bothering me in that I Ayaan’s clarity of thought.  This issue should be so clear, so transparent, yet I find myself grasping for straws to fight moral relativism.  What am I missing?

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Evolution of Thought

So evolution of physical characteristics is evident.  I have bigger muscles, I kick ass, I procreate and you don’t.  So Sit. Your. Ass. Down.

Then we move to behavior.  Things are still simple.  Girls say “I want a nice guy.”  Bullshit.  Girls want an alpha-male.  Alpha male who will provide.  So, as a friend of mine recently suggested “If I go for the kill, they like it!  If I try to do the right thing – like act out proper dating courtship, it fizzles.”  There are many hypotheses as to why this is so, but, the dry remains are: those who are more aggressive procreate and those who are not…  well…

So far so good.  Behavior, physical characteristics – everybody nods.

But recently I’ve come to realize that may be I am not as independent thinker as I would like to consider myself.

Consider two scenarios:

Scenario 1 – intellectual territorially competitive co-existence.  Suppose that A meets B.  After some time A doesn’t feel like B is an ideal mate.  Well, if they keep talking, figuring things out, etc. then they end up staying together until after both A and B can produce offspring.  Moreover, because they are territorial, they prevent each other from getting mates.

Scenario 2 – emotional turmoil.  Now suppose that when A and B end up mismatched, there is emotional turmoil, problematic behavior, etc.  Then they break up completely, start afresh, find another potential mate and procreate.

Who wins?  Scenario 2.  So I’ve been programmed by evolution to be in pain and anguish when presented with a situation/relationship when thing are not perfect with a female companion.  Evolution.

But wait!  There is more!  Call now and you’ll be saved!

No, really, there is:

Scenario 3 – collective development.  Notice that now the idea of “unit” is becoming obsolete.  There are very few marriages and a very large number of 20 and 30 year old singles of both sexes.  Now this is natural, but then would it not be optimal for them never to latch on to each other completely, but also to never completely disengage?  Then we turn into a tribe.

So, from an evolutionary point of view, are we moving towards collective intellectual co-existence?  Or was I wired by evolution to come up with this argument to spread my seed with as many women as possible?

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H.264 Pseudo-Streaming (PDSeek) and Why CDNs Suck.

So, we at JoVE use FLV right now…  which means that stuff coming from post-production as MOV has to be encoded into FLV and then we have to run FLVtool to add metadata.  Now, when we developed our spanking new player, we switched to Flash 9 in hopes of using H.264, but then almost all the CDNs with promises of "Oh yeah!  We can do anything!", just as the project was to get off the ground, switched to "Yeah, dude, btw, we suck and can’t do PDSeek with H.264.  But streaming is really great!"  Except I don’t need streaming.  I need PDSeek (progressive seek).  Because we have users on dial-up who want to view our files and, after the terrible experience that we had with Mirror-Image by way of VeoTag, I don’t care to repeat the experience of a) explaining to people that jerkiness is to be expected and b) telling people to talk to their IT department to adjust the firewall to allow RTMP…  In the words of the venerable TheWebSiteIsDown, "You so suck".

So I recently posted a question on the NYTech meetup list and got a pretty useful response that mentioned:

(Thanks John)

But this means that I am my own CDN, which I think I don’t want to be…  If someone has some info on this, hit me up?

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Idea Implementation: Turk + Translation

Back when I was helping Lu with her studio in Tokyo, I had to have some translations done.  It was a pretty eye-opening experience, that made me realize that the market is grossly inefficient.  And, at that time, I mentioned to several people: well wouldn’t it be cool to have an online marketplace where people can do translation and translation?  Well, looks like Google is moving in this direction.  Now I am not sure whether they are going to allow granular translation, but it could be an interesting start that could:

  1. Provide high quality on-demand translation
  2. Provide jobs to people who can do translation, but don’t know how to market their services

Thinking about all this makes me realize one thing: the days of marketing are numbered.  The purpose of marketing is to establish a connection between someone who needs something and someone who has something.  And marketing is the art of experimenting with channels and seeing what sticks if you throw content at a bunch of eyeballs.  Now there is a shift: targeted flow of information.  Where before you had to attract a customer, now you and customer will have an easier and an easier time connecting.

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